Ice build-up is a major problem in Nordic countries, not only for wind turbines but also for numerous other everyday technologies, such as aircraft wings, LED headlights on cars, and cooling fins in heat exchangers. Since de-icing is expensive, the Scandinavians are focusing on so-called passive measures – surfaces from which water droplets run off immediately so ice has no chance to form.
After testing successfully in the laboratory, the first anti-ice surfaces are now ready to be put through field trials. TopNano was launched in 2010 and will run until 2014. The project has a budget of EUR 3.8 million annually. The Institute for Surface Chemistry (YKI) in Stockholm is overseeing the project, whose participants include corporations such as Saab, Vattenfall and AB Electrolux.